Piggie pipe dreams come to life in this agreeable book.



One little piggie dreams of flying…can it really happen?

One windy day, Ollie the pig watches leaves float on the breeze. Flapping his trotters in the air, he gets his human friend Jack to tie branches to his back. They go to the top of the hill, and Ollie runs down at top speed. He leaps into the air and flies…for a second before crashing. The next day Ollie sees kites in the sky and takes feed sacks, garden stakes, and twine to Jack. Jack makes him a kite/parachute. Back to the hill they go. He runs, he jumps, and “A strong breeze caught the kite at once. / I’m flying! / I’m flying, / I’m… // OOOOOOMPH! / PLOP!” Geese in the sky inspire an attempt with homemade feathered wings. An umbrella caught in a storm gives rise to an attempt to mimic Mary Poppins. The result never changes. Poor Ollie still dreams of flying. Good thing he has a friend like Jack to make him a hot air balloon! Award-winning Canadian author Coates spins a porcine tale of dreams, perseverance, and friendship. Del Rizzo’s colorful illustrations, made with Plasticine, polymer clay, and “other doodads,” are a good match, although at times they struggle with perspective, causing the characters and landscapes alike to look squashed. Ollie and light-skinned Jack are expressive, though, and they have a fey appeal.

Piggie pipe dreams come to life in this agreeable book. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-927485-98-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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